Tech's most interesting companies

We list the tech firms we think are the most interesting and innovative in the sector - Apple, Google and yes, even Microsoft.

Red Hat remains the most successful free software company, trading in operating systems and Java-based middleware.

Red Hat has an instantly recognisable moniker and logo that are the stuff that marketing people dream of and die for. The company survives and thrives on its brand, the quality of the software and services it provides, and the strength of its bonds with the user and developer communities from which it sprang. The price it has to pay for its success is to remain honest and true to the principles of those communities.

Red Hat's business model has initiated a revolution in the computing industry, but unlike its proprietary rivals, the company grows from strength to strength. (Richard Hillesley, IT PRO contributor)

Research in Motion

RIM has done more for business on the mobile than any other manufacturer. Unlike Windows Mobile, RIM doesn't boast a PC-like experience on mobile, but seamlessly brings the most important business features to your phone. Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) allows you to sync everything to your mobile, including email and applications, and does so in a much more effective way than any other business platform.

Most Blackberry users just want to access push email on the move, the ability to search for emails in their inbox, view messages in order of date as well as sender and subject and this is exactly what Blackberrys allow them to do.

The reason why Blackberrys are not the fashionable mobiles for young consumers is that they are far too innovative in the business space, to make email on the move so accessible and time saving for businesses, that RIM doesn't need to capture the teenage market which other smartphone manufacturers are so desperate to have. (Clare Hopping, Know Your Mobile)

Twitter

Twitter is the bright young thing of IT at the moment, and its very much enjoying its time in the limelight. It used to be simply a consumer platform, but in the last months it has really taken off as a tech used by businesses, celebrities and others.

The test is now coming for the company to see whether it can really make any profits by monetising the business, but if they are successful with that then it really is sky's the limit forwhat it can achieve. It received the ultimate compliment from rival Facebook, after that site implemented its own real time status updates which looked rather like Twitter's system. (Asavin Wattanjantra, staff writer for IT PRO)

Valve

In a world where analysts are forever claiming the death of PC gaming and an irreversible decline in games sales, Valve has consistently bucked the trends since its 1996 birth. The enduring Half-Life series is hailed as one of the best ever made, but it's in Steam, the revolutionary digital distribution system, where founder Gabe Newell will secure his legacy.

Steam's ferocious growth means that you don't have to trudge out to a shop anymore - start your game downloading and it'll be finished in a couple of hours, ready to play. Virtually every major publisher has signed up.

Valve isn't resting on its laurels, either, introducing multiplayer matchmaking options with the release of only shooter Left 4 Dead and offering a vibrant, enthusiastic community.

Valve is turning an entire industry on its head and introducing a revolutionary new concept that's been embraced across the globe. I can't wait to see what it does next. (Mike Jennings, PC Pro)

Like our picks? Think we missed one? Can't believe we included that one? Drop us a line at comments@itpro.co.uk.

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